The Town of Stettler’s busy Main Street is poised to get a lot busier this summer as council approved major road and infrastructure work during the regular meeting of council Mar. 2.
Councillors read a report from Director of Operations Melissa Robbins regarding the downtown streetscape tender and its results.
The work was described as “2021 capital budget project to replace the water main, water services and sidewalks/curb and upgrade pedestrian bulbing on 50 Street from 48 Ave. to 49 Ave. for $850,000.”
Curb bulbing (extensions) extend the sidewalk into the parking lane to narrow the roadway and provide additional pedestrian space at key locations for enhancing pedestrian safety by increasing pedestrian visibility, shortening crossing distances, slowing turning vehicles, and visually narrowing the roadway.
Robbins noted three companies bid on the work, including Wally’s Backhoe Services ($680,077), Watson Welding ($724,505.54) and Urban Dirtworks ($775,762.64), and her recommendation was to award the work to Wally’s Backhoe.
Robbins stated Wally’s is a local company that she has a lot of confidence in.
Robbins also noted contingency and tax was not included.
The project was not originally intended to include the entire block from 48th to 49th, but Robbins stated the COVID-19 pandemic required some projects to be tweaked. This was one of them.
Coun. Gord Lawlor asked how reliable estimates are for the length of work, noting that he’s heard some estimates for other jobs that were supposed to be three months instead end up taking a year to complete.
Robbins stated the project will be split into two major parts, with each part taking about four to six weeks weather permitting, resulting in a two to three month project.
Robbins stated it’s expected that the water construction will begin in May.
She also noted the Town of Stettler has a public information plan for businesses along that stretch of Main Street, including a mail-out and an in-person meeting with town staff so businesses know what to expect during construction.
Lawlor stated he liked that approach because communication with the business community is important.
Robbins again noted she has a lot of faith in the proposed contractor, but the first contact with businesses regarding this project will be with town staff.
Councillors were curious how traffic on Main Street would be handled during this project.
Robbins answered that the contractor will do one side of the street at a time, so traffic flow and parking on the opposite side will continue, albeit reduced.
Councillors unanimously approved awarding the tender for the 2021 downtown streetscape project to Wally’s Backhoe Service, along with Tagish Engineering as engineers plus a 10 per cent contingency.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter